The Q&A Archives: Herb Harvesting

Question: Because I never see summer Savory in the markets, I decided to grow my own in a square container. The plants have all sprouted and are reaching the stage where they are reseeding. I don't want to see all my lovely plants go to waste. What do I do to harvest them and save them?

Diane Carpenter

Answer: Summer savory is an annual plant. When started from seeds, you can begin harvesting lightly after about 6-weeks. As you cut the stems, new ones will develop, which will keep the plant producing more stems and foliage. You want to keep it from flowering, however, because flowering leads to seed production and as soon as an annual plant produces seeds, it dies. If your plants have already flowered and are setting seeds, you won't be able to save the original plants, but you can collect the seeds and sow them to make new plants.

Most gardeners harvest a few stems from their plants every few days during the summer months. This keeps them producing new stems throughout the growing season. Then, when frost threatens, they pull up the plants, roots and all, and hang them upside down to dry. Summer savory can then be stored in airtight containers and used dried all winter long.

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